http://flagstaff-lawyer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/AZ-GPS-windshield.gif

Most people don’t know this but windshield mount GPS and cell phones are illegal in California. Not totally illegal, but to comply with the law it’s unusable. It’s another one of those stupid laws by those who hate electronics and want to blame everything on gizmo owners.

You can only mount your GPS to the windshield on the driver’s side in the lower 5″ corner of the windshield, or the lower 7″ corner on the passenger side. The problem is that these are touch screen devices so on many modern cars you can’t reach the screen. My car’s windshield has such an extreme slope that the GPS would never fit there. And if it did the power cable would never reach.

Because you can’t mount it on the windshield if you use a GPS you have to take your eyes off the road to use the GPS which makes them far more dangerous than on the windshield.

So in their attempt to increase safety, it actually has the opposite effect.

You can however block a 5″x5″ section of your windshield for a toll transponder. When it comes to collecting money California says screw safety.



  1. ABO says:

    Mine has been in the middle lower for years, and it’s going to stay there. FUCK THEM.

  2. spsffan says:

    Okay dingbats! Nobody living sponsored this law. It was the law back in 1978 when I took the driver’s test, and I’m pretty sure it was the same back in the 1950 when my Dad took the test.

    It has nothing to do with electronic devices like GPS or even radar detectors as they hadn’t been invented yet. It was designed to keep idiots from putting things like parking stickers front and center in their windshields.

    Now, while it should be modified, I suppose, I still of the school that you should either know where you are going or get off the road.

    Hang up the phone, but the electronic toys away, close the book, nix the makeup and the razor and look where you are going!

    • H says:

      No, the law dates back to 2009. Before that it was illegal on any part of the windshield.

      Now they use the same rule that they do for things such as stickers (parking for example) or for the FasTrak device. So if you have your FasTrak mounted there like me (I figured it would be behind a sticker already there anyway) then there’s no place to mount it even if you can reach it.

      With long slanted windows such as the ones on minivans, it would be physically impossible to mount anything there, and the area that’s a foot up is effectively the bottom if the windshield with respect to what drivers see.

    • Mark B. says:

      Statistical studies have been done showing that utilizing a GPS reduces accident risk. Having used these devices for years, I have no doubt whatsoever that the studies are accurate. Especially if you’re on unfamiliar roads, there’s nothing more dangerous than continuously taking your eyes off the road trying to figure out your next turn, not to mention coping with your own road rage when you miss a turn and have to find a way back. It’s counterproductive laws like this one that give regulation a bad name.

    • Ken says:

      AMEN, BROTHER (OR SISTER)! Too many rubber-neckers out there as it is and too much crap hanging from mirrors and stuck to windshields already! Maybe it’s not important to see where you’re going if you have a GPS! After all, all you have to do is look at the screen. Between GPS and cruise control, all you have to do is set the gps and cruise control, lay back for a nap, and the car will take you home – or to the morgue, whichever comes first!

      • My Name says:

        Nobody can tell what your point is, or if you are coming or going with that comment. Are you for or against these rules?

      • Liquidthex says:

        Did you even read the article? Who are you saying Amen to?

  3. blatherer says:

    I see nothing stupid about not being allowed to obstruct the driver’s vision.

    My GPS is on top of the dash below the windshield site line, it’s easy to reach and easy to view without too much distraction.

    My toll transponder is in the lower left corner where it belongs and it does not obstruct vision.

    This would only be an issue for dumb asses that probably shouldn’t be driving in the first place.

    • H says:

      No, the law does not stop you from blocking vision. You just need to block it using a beanbag mount on the dashboard (or use a tape-on dashboard disk that manufacturers such as Garmin provide) rather than on the windshield in a potentially safer location.

      The law should specify that it can’t be mounted in any area that interferes with the driver’s vision. Don’t argue that it’s subjective, because a lot of California’s driving laws are subjective, such as the requirement to keep a safe following distance.

      The problem is that when you mandate exact locations, it becomes like states that mandate 2 or 3 second following distances, making it illegal for you if somebody else cuts you off, or minimum speed limits on highways, meaning that you are breaking the law if you are stuck in traffic. Even in the specified location, it could be very dangerous with some vehicles while it might be safer in other locations. I haven’t tried it out on 1959 Austin Healey Sprites, or other small cars to see if it results in the navigator being in the driver’s face, but I assume there are cars where that would happen.

  4. mike says:

    Just get one of the bean bag weighted things. Have used them for years and have not had any problems.

    • Eddie H says:

      Can anyone say Projectile Object?! I rather my gps stay mounted firm somewhere. I drive 200miles or more for work every day and without a gps or navigation mounted in my car I would be up the creek. I’ve had things thrown at me in a car because they weren’t secured and it wasn’t fun… Plus, If i mounted mine in the lower 5 inch area required by law it would interfere with the curtain bag and certainly get plowed into my face during an accident. California needs to stop spending time worrying about stupid things and focus on laws that affect the productivity of it’s hardworking tax paying citizens(or lack there of). Don’t get me wrong. I hate the people with beanie babies all over their windows or the big “flame face” or Ford sticker blocking the window of their car (or the rednecks that camouflage their whole back window of a truck) and I think it’s crazy to have things all over a car but many of us need to have things while we drive for work etc… and I can say that most of us (who have a brain) will play with a device(while not driving) and see where it’s most comfortable and has the most comfort without distraction. My Gps has found 3 homes since I’ve started using it and now it’s in reach of my right hand but not too close to the wheel WELL BELOW my sight and the only thing it visually obstructs are the washer fluid sprayers.

  5. Harry says:

    I want the handsfree law upheld, I have seen people doing stupid things while driving, including the cops.

  6. JohnB says:

    I think you guys are missing the reason for legislating the positioning of your GPS. t is not because it obscures your vision!

    It is so that your GPS doesn’t kill you in the event of your airbags being set off.

    I personally think that if people want to be killed by their GPS in an accident, they should have the right to do so. Darwins theory at work!

    • H says:

      If your airbags go off, it means that you (and everything else) is flying forward. A GPS would not come off the mount and fly in your direction. It might get pushed back a bit from the counter-force afterwards, but no matter where you put it there’s a risk. It could come off in a rollover, a partial offset collision, a side impact, or a lot of other things. You are at more risk keeping a briefcase on the passenger’s seat, but there’s no law against that.

    • John G says:

      Negative on that one, chief.

      The original law this new legislation adds an exception to is all about obstructed views.

      And if it were about the airbags, mounting on the passenger side would be forbidden. The windshield is the backstop and a structural support for the passenger airbag on most late-model vehicles. A GPS mounted in the government-approved 7 inch square will be impacted by the passenger airbag. The airbag will also fail to function properly. It ain’t about airbag safety.

  7. Bob C says:

    Illegal in NJ too!

  8. joejoe says:

    What’s stupid is poeple thinking they this crap. If you’re lost ask the local crack dealer to give you directions.

  9. BertDawg says:

    I remain convinced that the folks who are running CA today were hippies and druggies in the 60′s and sustained some cognitive impairment. How else could you explain making it illegal for truckers to have their hazard lights flashing when climbing steep grades at speeds as low as 20mph when 4-wheel traffic is able to maintain 70 mph? Or, for that matter, bilateral speed limits in direct defiance of the laws of physics…

  10. Justin says:

    boo-hoo, just put the gps on the drivers side right where your inspection stick goes. That makes it: in reach, easier to read, and in compliance with this law…

    • H says:

      What makes you think California has vehicle inspections? It doesn’t. People probably get their vehicles inspected when they are buying a new one (meaning a used one that’s new for them) but it’s not being done for the state and there’s no sticker. It would still be a matter of state law where the sticker would go if there even were inspections with stickers issued, and there’s no telling where any state would want them to go.

      New York started out with them in the middle behind the mirror and then moved them to the driver’s side lower left. I don’t know what state requires them in the right, or what states even have inspections, but the point is that they could be in the left, middle or right and can even change.

  11. Chris Mac says:

    and now all the porn shot in cali has to hace a condom
    what is the world coming to?

  12. Anonymous says:

    It’s about RESPONSIBILITY! If you can drive safely while surgically attached to your phone then more power to you. But if you can’t then I say you should have your feet cut off at the knees while having your hands attached at the stumps!

    Here are a few questions you might like to ask yourself to help tell if you aren’t driving like a complete moron:

    1 – Are you in the left lane of a highway with no one in front of you and people behind you?

    2 – Have you ever noticed half the county following you cause you never pulled your slow ass over?

    3 – Do people pass you as though you are going the opposite direction? (In relation to #1, do they do it on your right?)

    4 – Do you speed up when other people start to pass you?

    5 – Do you tailgate so as to not let any other people get in front of you and the person you happen to be following?

    6 – Do you maintain the same speed as the guy next to you for more than a block?

    7 – Do you have no idea what a “blind spot” is on another vehicle?!

    8 – Do you really think it’s a good idea to piss off someone else who just might kill you – like a biker?!

    9 – Have you ever tried to win a physics battle with a semi tractor trailer?

    10 – Do you always use a GPS to direct you to the SAME location?!

    This is by no means a comprehensive list. But if you answered yes to any question then you need to start taking the bus!

    Let’s face it. If you can’t pay attention to what the DMV tells you then can you really say you are any smarter?

    • Debbie says:

      ha-ha thts a grat list, i knw exactly the peeople ur tlkng abt, (drive 35 in fast lane, speed up whn u try 2 pass thm, step on brakes when they hve 10 car span between thm & nxt car) etc. they drive me nuts!

    • Debbie says:

      ha-ha thts a great list, i knw exactly the peeople ur tlkng abt, (drive 35 in fast lane, speed up whn u try 2 pass thm, step on brakes when they hve 10 car span between thm & nxt car) etc. they drive me nuts!

  13. Guyver says:

    No shocker here. It’s typical liberal legislation.

    • H says:

      Signed into law by a Republican governor? I suppose it depends on your definition of liberal.

      • Debbie says:

        yeah but remember the gov has been corrupted by surroundng himslf (not 2 mention being married) wt democrats/liberals,, which my definition of libs/dems is simple: IDIOTS! evry thinkng person knws “liberalism is a mental disorder”

    • Debbie says:

      U got that right!, the libs shld be put on their own island (alcatraz wld be good) & leave the rest of us alone!

  14. BertDawg says:

    I remember with delight and amusement when the California legislature decided to mandate that all street-legal motorcycles must have rear-view mirrors on them and had to go back to work and amend the law a few years later to clarify and specify, when it was noticed that many bikers with disdain for the law had been ‘complying’ with dentists mirrors (with a diameter of an inch or less).

  15. Marko says:

    A ridiculous rule. I place mine right under my rear view mirror. It is perfect and doesn’t impair vision and also reminds me to continually check my rear view mirror. It is as ridiculous as the hands free rule which encourages conversations which are the main distraction and cause of accidents not the hands actual phone.

  16. Havfun says:

    I agree, this law is one more reason to leave California. Its also another example of California’s ‘in-your-face’ style of legislation. I have a sloped windshield (good for aerodynamics and gas mileage) and the safest, most practical location is to mount it in the drivers side corner. Of course it doesn’t fit in the 5″ square required by the CA law due to the slope. When mounted in this illegal location the only vision it obstructs is the sight of my engine hood! This law is precisely the kind of nonsense I’ve come to expect from California’s legislators. Pay them your tax dollors so they can run your life!

  17. u812 says:

    Perfect example where giving government too much power it becomes self serving. It’s all about revenue and has nothing to do with safety. Government can’t manage money, money corrupts government. California is very irresponsible to its people and also in debt

  18. Fielder says:

    That picture of a gps attached to the windshield. It is legal to attach to the dashboard and put the gps in exactly the same spot, just mounted from the bottom instead of the back. Many mounts swivel and allow this.

    This law is STUPID! And this is why libertarianism is increasing in popularity every day. To tell big brother to go away and stop trying to help until big brother has the intelligence to pass reasonable laws, instead of BS like this crap.

  19. Tawny Y. says:

    This law is one of the worst; directly under the rearview mirror was a great location, which didn’t obstruct one’s view any more than the mirror. Like many others, the design of my car would make it a physical impossibility to mount a gps in the legal area of the window, so to comply with the law I have it mounted in a sub-optimal location that requires me to look AWAY from my direction of travel to be able to see it…way more dangerous than having it under my rearview mirror.